Thanks to the Google-obsessed press, Vibrant Media, Media Innovation Group and PointRoll almost got away with bypassing the privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser. But now the three companies will have to answer to two House Democrats who are asking the three other Safari dodgers to explain why they failed to honor Safari's third-party cookie blocking.
Since mid-month when a Stanford University research study showed that Google DoubleClick and others were circumventing the Safari privacy controls and tracking Internet users without their permission, Google took all the heat. The company was hit with a number of letters from lawmakers and criticized by privacy advocates.
On Monday, Google provided a briefing for House Energy and Commerce members. On Tuesday, House Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), ranking member of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, fired off a letter to the three companies with a list of 10 questions. They have until March 13 to respond.
Maybe Google put a bug in lawmakers' ears during the briefing that, "Hey, it wasn't just us."
"You have not," Waxman and Butterfield wrote to the three companies, "clearly and thoroughly explained why you delivered code to consumers' devices to get around Safari's default blocking of third-party tracking cookies."